Minerals, Oil and Gas Management

Mining Policy

Strongbow Exploration Agreement Signing

Table Of Contents:


As Nunavut’s population expands, traditional reliance on wildlife resources for food may need to be supplemented by other economic activities. Given the favourable geology which nature has provided us, we may wish to turn to another resource from the land to contribute to our livelihood – Nunavut’s mineral resources.Exploration for these resources and the mining of them have the potential to provide many employment opportunities (both direct and in service industries), business and investment opportunities, education and training, and infrastructure improvements in the communities. With proper planning of mining activities, these benefits will remain long after each particular mine has shut down.While we recognize the potential benefits mining can bring, Inuit have concerns about the effects of mining activities on the land, water, and air, the impact on the flora and fauna on which we depend, and disruption to our culture and lifestyle.

Guiding Principle

NTI will support and promote the development of mineral resources in Nunavut if there are significant long-term social and economic benefits for the Inuit of Nunavut, and is consistent with protecting the eco-systemic integrity of the Nunavut Settlement Area.


The objectives of NTI’s mining policy are to:

  • Minimize The Negative ImpactsEnsure that exploration and mining will be planned and carried out in a way which will have the least possible impact on the environment, wildlife, habitat, and on the lives and culture of Inuit.
  • Maximize The Benefits Of Mining To InuitEnsure that to the greatest extent possible, the benefits of mining will remain in Nunavut, both in Nunavut as a whole and in the local communities that are impacted.
  • Attract Mining InvestmentPromote the development of a political and economic climate which will encourage the mining industry to invest.
  • Resolve Land Use ConflictsPromote certainty and clarify for land access and resolve land use conflicts.
  • Improve Consultation and Clarify Decision MakingImprove communications, consultation and coordination among all of the stakeholders and clarify the decision-making process


Objective 1: Minimize the Negative Impacts

We insist that exploration and mining activities take place in a manner that is sensitive to wildlife, habitat, the environment and traditional relationships with the land. Ways in which negative impacts can be reduced include:

  • Minimize the negative impacts on Inuit social life and culture
  • Prevent pollution of the environment
  • Protect wildlife and habitat
  • Return the land to its original state

While exploration and mining do have some impact on the environment and lifestyle of Inuit, this impact can usually be controlled and managed so that these activities produce the greatest possible benefit with the least possible negative impact. The following policy statements support the objectives of minimizing the impacts of mining:

  • NTI insists that companies must in all ways respect Inuit values and way of life.
  • NTI requires that companies adhere to an acceptable, recognized code of good environmental practice and pollution prevention.
  • NTI encourages the development of protection measures or guidelines which ensure the preservation of flora and fauna, including marine mammals, which may be impacted by development and related activities.
  • NTI supports caribou protection measures which provide adequate protection to caribou and habitat.
  • NTI requires that companies minimize habitat loss due to the construction of roads, airstrips and other infrastructure.
  • NTI requires that mines be planned, operated, closed and decommissioned, and disturbed lands be reclaimed, all in an environmentally sound manner.
  • NTI insists that any disturbed land be returned to a safe, stable and productive condition.


Objective 2: Maximize the Benefits of Mining to Inuit

We wish to maximize benefits from mining, while minimizing negative impacts to the land and to Inuit culture. Benefits from mining include:

  • Employment
  • Education and training
  • Business and investment opportunities
  • Royalties and other revenues
  • Infrastructure

Although Inuit will benefit from exploration and mining activities on all lands within Nunavut, the greatest return of benefits will be from activities which take place on Inuit Owned Lands (IOL). The following policy statements support the objective of maximizing the benefits of mining:

  • NTI encourages active participation of Inuit in exploration and mining.
  • NTI recognizes the need to increase the employment opportunities for Inuit in all levels of the industry and in the related service sector.
  • NTI supports preferential hiring of Inuit in all stages of exploration and mining.
  • NTI encourages mining companies, educational institutions and Government to work together with the communities to ensure that the local population has the appropriate knowledge and training to take advantage of all levels of employment opportunities within and related to the industry.
  • NTI requires companies to provide business opportunities to competitive Inuit firms.
  • NTI supports policies which optimize the royalties and other revenues from mining on both IOL and Crown land.


Objective 3: Attract Mining Investment

All areas compete with all others around the world for mining investment. It is important to remember that mining is a business, and therefore must make a sufficient return on investment. NTI recognizes the value of mining to economic development in Nunavut. NTI also recognizes that certainty with respect to mineral tenure and the right to mine is critical to mineral investment, and acknowledges the need to improve the certainty of mineral tenure. Local conditions, such as the cost of doing business and uncertainty as to whether the residents want mining, will also influence decisions about mining investment. Ways in which mining investment can be drawn to Nunavut include:

  • Provide certainty of mineral tenure.
  • Provide an efficient regulatory regime.
  • Develop cooperative working relationships and partnerships
  • Provide services and support

The following policy statements support the objectives of attracting mineral investment:

  • NTI will take a pro-active approach in creating a political and economic climate in which the mining industry will invest.
  • NTI acknowledges the need to improve the certainty of mineral tenure.
  • NTI supports the streamlining of environmental regulations for mining.
  • NTI encourages the mining industry, governments, Inuit organizations and communities to establish cooperative working relationships.
  • NTI encourages the development of programs to ensure the availability of services and support.


Objective 4: Resolve Land Use Conflicts

Inuit land use priorities will not always be the same as those of mining companies. We wish to keep certain areas intact, free from any kind of development. The mining industry is very concerned about the removal of land form exploration and mining. If lands are excluded from exploration and mining they will not provide the benefits of mining activities. Some land in Nunavut which has good mineral potential is currently withdrawn or is proposed to be withdrawn. Because the objectives of Inuit and the objectives of mining companies are not always the same, land use conflicts will occasionally arise. Some ways to deal with these conflicts include:

  • Develop and implement socio-economic terms and conditions.
  • Develop a comprehensive land use philosophy.

The following policy statements support the objective of resolving land use conflicts:

  • NTI insists that mining companies adhere to socio-economic terms and conditions on any mineral project being developed in Nunavut.
  • NTI recognizes that areas with high mineral potential must be carefully evaluated prior to any decisions regarding land use.
  • NTI supports land use activities that reflect the priorities and values of Inuit.


Objective 5: Improve Consultation and Clarify Decision – Making

Sound decisions on issues related to exploration and mining cannot be made unless all parties are fully informed about the issues and there are processes in place to communicate with all of the interested parties. There must also be coordination of the decision-makes. All stakeholders should be given a meaningful opportunity to participate in decision-making. Processes should be open, transparent, timely, and well-defined. Factors that assist improved consultation and decision-making include:

  • Cultural sensitivity.
  • Effective communications among all stakeholders.
  • Use of the best available information and knowledge in decision-making.

The following policy statements support the objective of improving consultation and clarifying decision-making.

  • NTI shall encourage and promote cultural sensitivity in all mining activities.
  • NTI requires that companies carry out meaningful consultations with Inuit organizations, government and affected communities prior to and throughout the duration of exploration and mining projects.
  • NTI requires that decisions concerning exploration and mine development be based on appropriate traditional knowledge and scientific information.


The Department of Lands and Resources promotes and protects Inuit interests in the lands and resources of Nunavut, so as to promote economic self-sufficiency in accordance to Inuit social and cultural needs and aspirations.